The best chance of bringing home a healthy and happy pet is by working with an ethical breeder. With the growing number of online scams and puppy mills in the country, however, it can be difficult to get good breeders puppies and kittens. One poor judgment can result in adopting a pet with health or behavioural issues. If you have decided on a specific breed for your family and are sure of buying a pet soon, here are some ways to tell if a breeder is responsible.
They will let you meet the parents
Before the pandemic, breeders would ask potential pet buyers to come to their homes to meet the mother and father of their desired animal. This way, the buyer can assess the appearance, size, and temperament of the parents, giving them a better idea of how their future pet will look and behave when it grows up.
Today, it’s a little different. Most meetings take place via video call, so you can expect limited interaction with the parents. If you are working with a good breeder, though, they will send you pre-recorded videos of their animals in action even if you do not ask for them.
Oftentimes, the father is not on the premises because many breeders use stud animals. This shouldn’t be a problem as long as the mother and her litter are present for viewing. You will still be able to see if the animals are happy, look well-fed, seem sociable, and appear settled.
They will show you where their animals live
Whether in person or via video call, a good breeder should be able to proudly show you where they are raising their animals. They will initiate a tour of their facilities and let you know, in detail, how they care for their furry friends.
Remember that the best environment for any animal to be raised is in a regular household. If you are visiting your breeder’s home, see if it is spotless and odourless. Check if the animals are well-fed, being supplied with fresh water, have nice living quarters, and are provided with a clean potty area.
They will disclose any health-related problems
Many breeds are prone to genetic conditions, so before any reputable breeder mates two animals, they will screen both breeds for any related health issues. Different tests will be performed on both animals to ensure that their offspring will come out as healthy as can be.
When it comes to the litter, a responsible breeder will make sure applicable vaccinations and treatments are received before the animals are let go. Should the animal you are interested in have any specific health conditions, your breeder will be honest about them with you. A good breeder will not hesitate to disclose any genetic diseases prevalent in the breed or refuse to show you any proof of health screenings.
Additionally, they will be more than happy to provide you with their animal’s full medical history, health clearances, and veterinary records. They will even supply you with their veterinarian’s contact number should you have any questions or issues in the future. Finally, they will readily take back the animal and provide a full refund should any medical problem be diagnosed when you bring your pet home.
They will be able to answer any questions you may have
One of the biggest benefits of working with an ethical breeder is that they are knowledgeable about their breed. This is because they only deal with one or two types of animals. They know all the standards of their animal, including its size, temperament, health issues, and feeding requirements, among many other things.
If you are meeting with your breeder for the first time, be prepared to ask them a lot of questions. A good breeder will happily and patiently answer them for you. Some good questions to ask are these:
- What is your history and experience? – It is important that you get to know your breeder well before deciding to adopt a pet from them. A serious breeder is an expert when it comes to their breed and will answer all your questions without hesitation.
- How many litters do you raise in a year? – Good breeders make it their responsibility not to breed their female animals more than once per year. They will typically breed no more than three litters annually so that they can properly care for the animals.
- Do you have a return or refund policy? – A reputable breeder should be willing to replace their animal should any genetically-linked disease occur during its lifetime. Furthermore, they should be willing to take the animal back or help you find a new owner if you can no longer care for your pet.
They will ask you questions
If your breeder is responsible, they will want to meet with you so that they can assess if you are the right fit for their animal. If meeting in person is not possible, they will likely ask for a video call.
Expect your breeder to ask you a lot of questions. This is because they want to make sure their animal ends up in a loving home. They may ask questions about yourself, your ability to care for a pet, your work schedule, where your pet will live, the number of people in your household, and your family’s lifestyle.
They will provide guarantees
Good breeders usually provide a written contract that specifies their and your role after adoption. They will also willingly provide as many references as you ask for. If unexpected circumstances cause you to have to give up your pet in the future, a good breeder will ensure that you can return their animal so that they can rehome it.
Even after buying their animal, an ethical breeder will continue to provide you with ongoing support. They will occasionally call or email you to see how their animal is doing under your care.